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A strategy for reducing neonatal mortality at high altitude using oxygen conditioning

Abstract

Neonatal mortality increases with altitude. For example, in Peru the incidence of neonatal mortality in the highlands has been shown to be about double that at lower altitudes. An important factor is the low inspired PO2 of newborn babies. Typically, expectant mothers at high altitude will travel to low altitude to have their babies if possible, but often this is not feasible because of economic factors. The procedure described here raises the oxygen concentration in the air of rooms where neonates are being housed and, in effect, this means that both the mother and baby are at a much lower altitude. Oxygen conditioning is similar to air conditioning except that the oxygen concentration of the air is increased rather than the temperature being reduced. The procedure is now used at high altitude in many hotels, dormitories and telescope facilities, and has been shown to be feasible and effective.

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Correspondence to J B West.

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West, J. A strategy for reducing neonatal mortality at high altitude using oxygen conditioning. J Perinatol 35, 900–902 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/jp.2015.108

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